It sounded at first like drops of goo dripping from a stalagmite, each drop swiftly splashing to the ground before being followed by another. The drops did not echo-the sanctuary was not the massive, cavernous pit in the ground that people envisioned caves to be-but they still had a ring to them.
It was a green substance that the cave bled, thick and sludgy, appearing fatal to the touch. Each stalagmite fed a small but deep, murky pool that lay beneath it. I couldn’t tell if there were fish or any other lifeforms occupying the pools, or if they could even live in whatever that stuff was.
The cave was musty and humid, growing larger and deeper the further I progressed. Its air was something unusual: there was something organic about, like it literally breathed its oppressive atmosphere upon me; like there was something sleeping, hibernating, or watching me from somewhere within. Like that hadn’t happened before.
For some reason, and it baffles me to this day, there was the skeleton of a whale tucked into one of the walls: skull, ribcage and all. My limited knowledge told me that it was a blue whale, but I knew enough to know that it did not belong here. What was it doing there? More importantly, how did it end up there? Something told me that it had to have been dragged here as the skull was cracked, and some of the ribs looked broken and chewed upon.
Whatever it was doing there did not matter at that point: the ground began to rumble with slow, steady steps. Something big, gigantic was coming must have heard or seen me, and I wasn’t ready to make its acquaintance. Without another thought, I killed my flashlight and bolted for the skeleton, pressing myself behind one of the ribs until the unseen behemoth gave up its search; if it was pissed that it found nothing, it gave no indication. No grunts, angry howls, or broken stalagmites. Nothing.
Worn out, I decided that the rib was more comfortable than it appeared to be, and nodded off as more distant footsteps rumbled off in the distance.